Further job cuts at AstraZeneca

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said Thursday that it would cut 7,600 jobs by 2010, more than double an original estimate, after posting a fall in second-quarter net profit.

The group had said in February that it planned to axe 3,000 jobs, of which 1,300 were to go at Swedish sites, as it looks to ramp up profits amid a growing threat from generic drugs makers.

The number of Swedish jobs to go under the new plans is so far unclear, but redundancies are certain to be higher than previously thought.

AstraZeneca, which makes the cholesterol treatment Crestor and breast cancer drug Arimidex, said it intends to cut about 12 percent of its global workforce over the next two and a half years as part of a major restructuring.

On Thursday, AstraZeneca said that its net profit dropped by 10.8 percent to $1.426 billion during the second quarter, from a year earlier.

Profit was hit by costs related to its acquisition of US biotechnology company MedImmune for $15.6 billion during the second quarter.

Sales grew by 9.8 percent to $7.273 billion in the three months ended June 30, compared with the second quarter in 2006.